Question submitted by email ‘We love all the dressing up and trick or treat but my son is going through a scary patch – what can we do?’
Thanks Rob for this question.
Halloween can be fun but some children do find it a bit scary especially at 4 years when they have a very vivid imagination. Try and explain what is real and what is make believe. I think step one is to talk to your child about Halloween and find out from them what they think. If they are scared of monsters then you could try and find out from them if there is something which makes them feel safe. For example, if the scary bit is the darkness and you still want to join in with trick or treating this year then take a big torch and make sure your child knows that is there for the purpose of scaring away any monsters should you happen to come across any. You may need to have a quick word with your neighbours in advance so they are sensative (the issue likely will have disappeared by next year) and then just visit houses where they are aware that your child is going through a stage where he/she gets scared. Giving choice is always a good idea, so involve your child in choosing their own costume and to be involved in making the decorations and putting them up, think of this as a group of tiny contributing elements that together may help.
Would having a friend along help? Sometimes if a child has a friend with them they are less scared. If your little one is really unhappy you may need to skip this year, it is just a stage and by next year it is unlikely to be a problem.
Jill Wheatcroft is a Lecturer in Child Health and is co-founder and Director of Training at Riverside Cares. She can be contacted at email@example.com://ww.riversidecares.co.uk
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